Improving resilience in African cities – some findings from the Urban ARK project

The Urban Africa: Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK) project, a three-year project initiated in January 2015, is exploring the challenges and opportunities to strengthen resilience in African cities through first-hand research in six cities in sub-Saharan Africa: Dakar (Senegal), Ibadan (Nigeria), Karonga (Malawi), Mombasa (Kenya), Nairobi (Kenya) and Niamey (Niger). The findings will draw out the connections between natural hazards and the social vulnerabilities of marginalised settlements such as poor housing, limited services and insecurity.

The project has recently been developing a range of material on urban disaster resilience, including a series of blogs by David Satterthwaite on the ‘blind spots‘ in resilience planning, the needs of the most vulnerable social groups and the importance of ‘thinking local‘, and an article on the intersection between social justice and environmental resilience in The Conversation by Gina Ziervogel and Lorena Pasquini. These have been posted on the IIED and Urban ARK website, and coincide with some recent papers in the April 2017 edition of Environment and Urbanization, themed around urban risk, outlining their work so far.